Reponse to “Reversing Climate Change Cannot Be Accomplished Via Geoengineering: Researchers”

Since I have made a proposal for geoengineering by building a Planetary Solar Shield this article quickly got my attention.

Geoengineering the climate has been suggested as a way to help lessen the impact of climate change, but new research published in Earth System Dynamics says this approach would not likely succeed.

German researchers say that reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the planet’s surface by geoengineering may not undo climate change.

The team used a simple energy balance analysis to explain how the Earth’s water cycle responds differently to heating by sunlight than it does to warming due to a stronger atmospheric greenhouse effect. They show that this difference implies that reflecting sunlight to reduce temperatures may have unwanted effects on the Earth’s rainfall patterns.

Many geoengineering approaches try to reduce global warming by reducing the amount of sunlight reaching the Earth’s surface. However, when the team applied their results to a geoengineering scenario like this, they found out that simultaneous changes in the water cycle and the atmosphere cannot be compensated for at the same time. This scenario would mean that reflecting sunlight by geoengineering is unlikely to restore the planet’s recent climate.

“It’s like putting a lid on the pot and turning down the heat at the same time,” Kleidon said in a statement. “While in the kitchen you can reduce your energy bill by doing so, in the Earth system this slows down the water cycle with wide-ranging potential consequences,” he says.

I agree that if you try to reduce sunlight for the whole atmosphere by spreading Aerosols you could end up with some undesirable results. We’re already experiencing disturbances in weather patterns because of warming and the melting of the Arctic. My proposal would take longer to implement but the reflecting of sunlight could be more easily controlled. It could be done just by make adjustments to the positioning and angle of the components. As I said in the post, you probably would want to situate the solar shield so that it reflects sunlight hitting one of the polar areas. They heat up much faster and they get more sunlight so the solar shield would have a much larger effect. It would be less like turning down the heat and more like moving pot so that part of it isn’t directly over the heat. You can easily experiment with this. Fill a sauce pan with water. Heat it on the stove (low or medium heat). Use a thermometer to test the temperature. When the temperature reaches the maximum possible move the pan so that about 3rd of the bottom surface area is not directly over the heating source. Wait a few minutes and take more temperature readings. This time take a reading in the center, the side closest to you and the side farthest away. If my hypothesis is correct then the water not directly over the heat source should cool down a bit and probably will reduce the average temperature of all the water a bit (after sometime being situated this way).

Another article suggest that a solar-shade could be beneficial

New research led by Carnegie’s Julia Pongratz examines the potential effects that geoengineering the climate could have on global food production and concludes that sunshade geoengineering would be more likely to improve rather than threaten food security. Their work is published online by Nature Climate Change Jan. 22.

Sometimes you have to increase the complexity of the engineering task and experiment with it in different ways to get the optimal results. I wouldn’t expect that even if the solar shield is built that we’ll return to the same climate of the previous century. By cooling the polar region(s) it might have a stabilizing effect on the weather patterns. I don’t see how anything we might do could result in returning an earlier climate situation in our history.

“It always seems impossible until it is done”
-Nelson Mandela

References

Sunshade Geoengineering More Likely to Improve Global Food Security, Research Suggests

How to build a planetary solar shield

Geoengineering Approaches to Reduce Climate Change Unlikely to Succeed

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